while there is no signage, there are plenty of waterfalls, flowers, and cows to see. very enjoyable trail.
I suggest taking the first right on the trail, about 1/4 mile down the hill. This will allow you to get to the Phantom falls area faster, and will keep you on the proper trail. The signage here is horrible at best. there is little trail maintenance happening, and it is easy to get lost. If you stay on the trail and don't turn right towards the falls, you are put on a gorgeous path that leads you down a culvert passed a tiny waterfall and other beautiful areas. However there are a few forks, with no signs, so it's a gamble if you choose wrong. I ended up going what seemed like the right way, as did a couple of folks in front of me. Well we ended up going down what we thought was the trail but was really a cow trail, and put us almost a mile south out in the middle of nowhere cow pasture hehe. Let's just say it was a long way back.
This is a unique and stunning area of California. Beautiful hiking through grasslands and along creeks past huge oak tress and gorgeous waterfalls. We saw 6 sets of hikers, all of whom were pleasantly lost as we were. Not really lost, because we knew where we were and how to get back to the car - we just couldn't find the trail or the falls. Really, Bring a GPS, or a decent map and compass and you'll be able to navigate overland, but don't count on any sort of markers, trails, or the vague AllTrails map over there to guide you. We never made it to Phantom, but the whole places was so gorgeous we didn't care. There's a fair amount of destruction throughout the region from cows in wet pastures, which was disappointing, but doesn't spoil the trip.
Great hike, beautiful view of waterfall...beware of inconsiderate people and their untrained, unleashed pets.
Nothing else like this trail. So green and I can't wait to hike this in spring. Would give 5 stars but a ton of lose rocks and cow poop everywhere! Still worth it. Also not much of a trail which is great but very easy to get lost. Download the trail off the app before hiking. :)
Many Gorgeous Falls on Ecological Preserve Skirting Private Property: A Note on Beauty and Caution
On my hike here I came across at least five waterfalls and numerous creeks, cascades, cows (including bulls, with horns), mud, mossy tufts, and fascinating mounds and bluffs of rock. I came here the final week of January and wanted to see the falls known as Phantom Falls or Coal Canyon Falls. It is the destination you see most recorded treks wander to--the ones that look mostly like an out an back, which is the track I mostly recommend at this time. The loop portion doesn't add anything new or interesting... Just one small cascade, but otherwise, more of just the same mountaintop and a lot of cow pies.
What to look for at the trailhead to see the two best waterfalls -- More of a Y than a Loop:
You'll find a main trail that eventually "forks" about 1/4 mi. in. You can either continue and follow the creek down what appears to be the more trekked path a 1/2 mi out to Hollow Falls (a large and beautiful cascade) or take a right turn up what looks likes a lighter trekked path to Coal Canyon or Phantom Falls (plus a few other falls en route). This is the most recorded path on AllTrails. A note of caution here--the path recorded on AllTrails does skirt/enter private property with clearly marked signs, you have to hop a small gorge, and the private property has bulls on it.... A little scary when you are walking along cliff faces to view these beautiful falls. I recommend keeping your phone on you and maybe a spare charger to keep an eye on the route as the trail is not clearly marked.
If you plan on doing both Hollow & Phantom Falls, I recommend Phantom first then finishing to chill at Hollow Falls as the latter is more accessible and can be more impressive due to proximity.
When I return I hope to record this recommended Y trek and/ or a better loop marking waterfall locations.
Amazing hike easy going trails, multiple waterfalls along the way . Phantom falls is the biggest with Fires down below on cold rainy days. Wild flowers in the spring , Swim under the water fall in the summer ! Right in my backyard . Thank you nature.